By Aaron Herman
Nostalgic fans rejoice – you can now fund an immersive, monumental playset straight from the world of ThunderCats! This week, toy company Super7 launched a crowdfunding project to create the ultimate ThunderCats ULTIMATES! Cats Lair.
Standing at over three feet tall and packed with interactive features, this Cats Lair playset unfolds to reveal iconic rooms and scenes from the classic 1980s animated series. Control pods, the ThunderTank maintenance hangar, a hidden weapons room, and command center will transport fans to Third Earth.
Created in collaboration with the helpful Berbils, Super7’s design team has engineered the playset for 7” scale ULTIMATES! action figures. Hidden defense weapons, special lighting effects, and removable parts make the Cats Lair an immersive fortress ready for imaginative play.
The playset is currently only available via direct pre-order from Super7, exclusively for customers in the US and Canada. A minimum of 3,000 backers must fund the project for it to move forward. Currently, over 3,400 fans have already backed the campaign.
Priced at $650, the Cats Lair playset pre-order closes Sunday, September 17th 2023 at 11:59PM. If successful, estimated delivery is October 2024. Additional funding will unlock more expansive accessories and features for the playset.
ThunderCats debuted in 1985 as an animated series from Rankin-Bass and Japanese studio Pacific Animation Corporation. The franchise launched an accompanying line of action figures and has retained a cult following for its unique characters and world.
Now fans can bring Third Earth home through Super7’s Cats Lair playset. Let’s help this epic crowdfund succeed and unleash the ThunderCats! Head to Super7’s website to pre-order this bit of 80s nostalgia today.
By Aaron Herman
Cartoons have always held a special place in our hearts, a reminder of the carefree days of childhood. For many, Disney has been at the forefront of these cherished memories. However, in a surprising and heartwarming turn, Disney has found a unique way to connect kids with their Jewish heritage through the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah. In an exciting collaboration, Team Spidey of “Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends” is teaming up with none other than Ben Grimm, also known as The Thing from the Fantastic Four, in a special Rosh Hashanah-themed episode set to premiere on Disney on September 15th.
In this special holiday episode, The Thing, a beloved character created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, joins forces with the kid-centric heroes Miles Morales and Peter Parker to embark on a mission to save and celebrate Rosh Hashanah. The episode unfolds as Gobby, also known as the Green Goblin, devises a nefarious plan to steal all the bees, putting at risk the cherished Rosh Hashanah tradition of celebrating the Jewish New Year with apples and honey. The Thing, alongside Team Spidey, thwarts Gobby’s sinister plan and preserves the tradition of love and celebration. But what makes this collaboration even more special is the rich history and personal journey of Ben Grimm, who is not just the Fantastic Four’s most popular member but also Marvel’s most prominent Jewish superhero. Ben’s Jewish identity was subtly hinted at for decades before it was officially confirmed in Fantastic Four #56, published in 2002, in a powerful and touching narrative about reconnecting with one’s roots.
In this issue, The Thing walks down Yancy Street, reflecting on his troubled past and his relationship with his Jewish neighbor, Hiram Sheckerberg. Ben’s life takes an unexpected turn when he saves Sheckerberg from the villain Powderkeg and recites the Sh’ma, a central declaration of the Jewish faith, when he believes Sheckerberg is dead. This moment raises questions about Ben’s reluctance to openly acknowledge his Jewish identity, leading Sheckerberg to wonder if Ben is ashamed of it. Ben’s reluctance to openly embrace his Jewish heritage stems from a deep-seated fear that people might judge all Jews based on his actions and appearance. He grapples with a self-deprecating belief that he is a “monster,” a label he wrongly applies to himself despite being a hero who has saved the world multiple times as a member of the Fantastic Four. This self-doubt highlights a common fear among many Jews – being unfairly judged or stereotyped based on the actions of one individual.
However, as the issue progresses, Ben begins to shed his self-doubt and realizes that he is not a monster. He’s a man who has defended others, stood up to bullies, and performed countless acts of kindness without expecting anything in return. His journey culminates in a touching moment where he publicly reads from the Torah, embracing his Jewish identity with pride. This act of self-acceptance is a powerful testament to the importance of celebrating one’s heritage and not letting fear or self-doubt hold you back.
The Thing’s journey from reluctance to pride in his Jewish identity is a heartwarming and inspirational story that resonates with people of all backgrounds. It reminds us that it’s essential to embrace who we are, no matter our differences or the obstacles we face. In the upcoming Rosh Hashanah-themed episode on Disney, The Thing’s character will undoubtedly serve as a symbol of resilience, self-discovery, and the power of celebrating one’s heritage.
This collaboration between Disney and Marvel not only provides a fun and exciting way for kids to connect with their Jewish roots during Rosh Hashanah but also delivers a poignant message about self-acceptance and the importance of embracing one’s identity, making it a must-watch episode for families of all backgrounds. So mark your calendars for September 15th, as The Thing and Team Spidey swing into action, saving Rosh Hashanah and inspiring us all to be proud of who we are, just as Ben Grimm has learned to be proud of his Jewish heritage.
By Aaron Herman
Comics have a magical way of turning life’s mishaps into belly-aching hilarity. And when it comes to the dynamic duo of Israeli cartoonists, Maya and Yehuda Devir, they’ve got the comedic recipe down to a science. These two talented artists, also a married couple, have taken the world by storm with their web comic series, “One of Those Days.” With their wacky sense of humor and knack for showcasing life’s absurdity, the Devirs have amassed a fan following of over 9 million people worldwide, offering a unique, humorous lens through which we can all view life’s ups and downs.
Maya and Yehuda Devir make for an artistic pair that’s as delightful as a comedy duo. Their individual talents are impressive, but it’s their collaboration that has transformed them into global comic celebrities. Based in Israel, this couple brings a dash of humor, a pinch of authenticity, and a whole lot of relatability to their art, making it accessible to people all over the world.
At the heart of their creative madness lies their web comic series, “One of Those Days.” Released weekly on their social media platforms, these comics serve up a hilarious slice of Maya and Yehuda’s daily life. What makes their comics stand out is their utter commitment to unfiltered honesty. They don’t shy away from depicting life’s unglamorous moments; instead, they flaunt the mundane, embarrassing, and downright chaotic parts of existence.
Through their art, the Devirs show us that life isn’t always Instagram-ready, but it’s these perfectly imperfect moments that make it so darn interesting. Whether it’s the epic struggle of fixing a broken appliance, the wild adventure of parenting, or the comedy of errors that is a relationship, Maya and Yehuda capture these scenarios with a humorous twist. Their comics are a window into the universal human experience, offering comfort in the knowledge that we’re all in the same hilariously leaky boat.
In a world where social media often portrays an unrealistic facade of perfection, the Devirs’ willingness to showcase their glorious chaos is a breath of fresh air. Their comics have transformed into a virtual support group for millions of people worldwide. Through humor, they’ve created a space where individuals can chuckle at their own mishaps and find solace in the fact that everyone’s life is a sitcom in the making.
The Devirs haven’t just entertained their audience; they’ve fostered a sense of community. Their weekly comics have created a bond between people who can relate to the daily struggles they depict. The comment sections on their posts are like a comedy club’s backstage, filled with funny anecdotes, shared experiences, and a hearty dose of laughter, turning their social media pages into a digital hangout for those who appreciate life’s quirks.
Maya and Yehuda Devir, the comedic masterminds behind “One of Those Days,” have struck comedic gold by turning life’s hiccups into fits of laughter. Their unique storytelling through comics resonates with the authenticity and hilarity that’s woven into our daily lives. By embracing the chaos and sharing it with the world, the Devirs have created a global comedy club where people can connect, share a hearty laugh, and find solace in the sheer craziness of existence.
In a world where we often strive for perfection, the Devirs remind us that it’s perfectly fine to laugh at our own foibles and find humor in the messiness. Through their art, they’ve offered a side-splitting perspective on the human experience, proving that even on our craziest days, laughter is the best medicine. Maya and Yehuda Devir’s ability to connect with people through their hilariously relatable comics is a testament to the comedic power of art to bring us together in laughter and understanding.
By Aaron Herman
New York Comic Con was an amazing event filled with endless entertainment and endless opportunities for comic book enthusiasts. The organizers, ReedPOP, truly outdid themselves in putting on a spectacular show.
One of the highlights of the convention for us was the opportunity to speak with some amazing organizations and individuals. We had the chance to chat with the NYC Ghostbusters, who shared their passion for all things ghostly and paranormal. We also had the chance to speak with Vader’s Vault, a company that creates incredible custom lightsabers and other Star Wars-inspired props. Finally, we had the pleasure of talking with Harley Yee Rare Comics, who shared some of their amazing rare finds with us.
But perhaps the most exciting moment of the convention for us was when we stumbled upon the first comic featuring Sabra, a character created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. Sabra, also known as Ruth Bat-Seraph, is a mutant Israeli superheroine and agent of the Mossad. She made her first appearance in Incredible Hulk #250 and had a full appearance in Incredible Hulk #256. Sabra is set to appear in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Captain America: New World Order, which is set to be released in 2024.
Overall, our experience at New York Comic Con was truly unforgettable. We can’t wait to see what ReedPOP has in store for us at future conventions.
By Aaron Herman
How do you teach future generations about the holocaust. One of the key elements of connecting to future generations is connecting to them on their level. Comic books are a unique way to tell difficult stories through a lens that can connect to children through a unique lens. In a book called book called We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust by legendary comic artist Neal Adams, Holocaust scholar Rafael Medoff and comics historian Craig Yoe (Yoe Books/IDW Publishing) documents that effort and gathers 18 of the landmark stories from the 1950s through the 1980s into a single collection. Unusually, the book includes reprints from both DC and Marvel, as well as a handful of other publishers, under the same cover.
“It’s an incredibly rare event when competitors DC and Marvel join forces–but then again, there has never before been a book like this!” said editor Craig Yoe, who spearheaded the project. “These top publishers saw their social responsibility and the unique opportunity to strongly and in unison speak out.” We Spoke Out also includes a Batman story from 1971 called “Night of the Reaper,” written by Denny O’Neil and drawn by Adams in his trademark realistic and dramatic style. It’s another tale of a Holocaust survivor seeking justice against the perpetrators, and it raises some difficult questions about lines that even victims should not cross.
Marvel also addressed the legacy of the Holocaust in many of its comics. “I take great pride in the role comic creators played in introducing this topic,” wrote Stan Lee in his introduction to We Spoke Out. Nazis turned up frequently as villains in Marvel comics during the 60s and 70s, but the company usually addressed the underlying issues of racism and fear through metaphor and subtext, as in the saga of the X-Men, a team of mutants irrationally despised for their difference from ordinary humans.
In one issue, Uncanny X-Men #161, the subtext became explicit when writer Chris Clarement filled in the backstory of the X-Men’s greatest foe, Magneto.
“I was trying to figure out what the most transfiguring event of our century that would tie in to the super-concept of the X-Men as persecuted outcasts,” said Claremont in an interview quoted in the book. “It had to be the Holocaust. One I found a point of departure for Magneto, all the rest fell into place, because it allowed me to turn him into a tragic figure who wants to save his people.”
We Spoke Out is an important, and unfortunately timely, reminder of how a popular artform dealt straightforwardly with troubling recent history: not by equivocating or shrinking from controversy, but by taking sides.
By Aaron Herman
GoPro leads the way for innovative tech for creators. The GoPro Hero Black 10 gives creators the ability to capture stories through unique vantage points and enahnces the way you can connect to audiences. The HERO10 Black Creator Edition is an all-in-one content capturing powerhouse that makes vlogging, filmmaking and live streaming easier than ever. This complete system features pro-quality 5.3K video, Emmy® award-winning HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization, enhanced audio, powerful LED lighting and 4 hours of 4K recording per charge. The game-changing HERO10 Black with unbelievable image quality. A super-versatile hand grip with all-day charge and one-hand control. Tons of mounting options. Lights. Sound. And unlimited cloud backup. It’s everything you need to create your masterpiece. Learn more at https://gopro.com/en/us/
The restaurant-grade portable pizza oven for your backyard.
Cook restaurant quality pizza at home with Roccbox, designed for ease of use and unrivalled performance.
Portable – Take Roccbox anywhere with it’s retractable legs, detachable burner and built-in thermometer.
Reaches 950°F – Enjoy unrivalled cooking results created by a thick stone floor, dense insulation and a unique rolling flame.
Gas or wood fuelled – Roccbox comes with a gas burner as standard, and the option to buy a detachable wood burner as an additional accessory.
Safe touch – Host pizza parties with the family friendly pizza oven, thanks to Roccbox’s safe-touch silicone jacket.
Restaurant-grade – Engineered to replicate the performance of Gozney’s professional pizza ovens, used by leading chefs and restaurants all over the world.
Each year Tipsy Elves always ups their game in holiday apparel. They have an array of options like have ugly holiday sweaters, t- shirts, jumpsuits and so much more. You will own your holiday party with their apparel .
If you love cooking pizza at home the Ooni Koda 16 is an incredible gift for the pizza lover. It is a gas powered pizza oven that is compact and makes incredible pizza in 60 seconds.This portable outdoor oven is sized to bake a 16″ pizza and uses super-easy gas ignition to turn on the heat. Adjust the heat control knob to cook all your outdoor favorites, from seared steak, roast chicken and vegetables to apple pie and fruit crisps. Perfect for outdoor pizza parties, the Koda features a compact, chimney-free design that travels easily to picnics and tailgate parties.
-Portable pizza oven features one-touch gas ignition.
-Extra-wide to bake 16″ pizza and large dishes such as meat, fish, stews, vegetables and flatbread; also ideal for focaccia, calzones and naan.
-Reaches 932°F in 25 minutes and cooks authentic wood-fired-tasting pizza in just 60 seconds.
-L-shaped gas burner requires just one rotation for even baking.
-Adjustable heat control reaches broad range of temperatures.
-Extra-thick cordierite baking stone locks in heat, cooking crusts to perfection.
-Compatible with propane and natural gas (natural gas conversion kit, sold separately, required).
About 9 years ago, I was introduced to the founding team of Westchester Torah Academy. At the time, I didn’t have any kids but was extremely interested in new models in Jewish education and ways to solve the “tuition crisis”. I was amazed in what they were looking to do using #technology , blended learning to change the game in Jewish education . When you say you are looking to build a school based on excellence in education and affordable Jewish education it seems like a oxymoron. The truth is you have to be willing to disrupt and look to future proof Jewish education for families. That is what WTA has done. I helped put together the first open house and over the years volunteered in different capacities. Now Michael is in 3rd grade and loving WTA. One day Ari will join him as well. This past year, WTA graduated their first 8th grade which was monumental . Today was another milestone where they had the Chanukat Habayit (grand opening) of their new campus. It was another incredible moment showing that with big ideas, committed donors and team you can accomplish anything. Thank you to the board, staff and donors who makes this all possible each day.